A highly readable, well-researched, and intelligent history of the confrontations in the streets of Chicago during the 1968...

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CHICAGO '68

A highly readable, well-researched, and intelligent history of the confrontations in the streets of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention. Farber (11 years old in '68) is a history professor (Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa) with the rare gift for maintaining his dispassionate professional eye while writing with the power of a skilled novelist. What's impressive here is his orderly division of a very disorderly time: the Yippies, the more traditional antiwar movement, and Mayor Richard Daley get equal time. ""Yippie"" was the brainchild of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and others (the name was actually thought up by Paul Krassner); Farber convincingly demonstrates that the Yippies' goal was to turn revolution into a kind of prankster game played by court jesters to the all-important media. The tactics of The National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam (Mobe)--led by the likes of Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis--differed considerably, aiming towards a ""traditional"" revolution generated through the power of the community. When both groups converged by the thousands (but not by the hundreds of thousands, as organizers had hoped) on Chicago in that steamy August of 1968, it was the ""pigs"" of Mayor Daley's police force who met them--and here Farber does a fine job of showing just why young Americans were met with ""commonplace police brutality"" (mainly because the police were afraid of seeming too ""soft"" after earlier, more humane treatment by police following Martin Luther King's death in March failed to stop violent rioting). Aside from his sagacious writing, it's Farber's thorough research that stands out here: one reads numerous documents from the period (especially underground newspapers and broadsides), and even gets to hear a (taped) Abbie Hoffman plain: ""What we saw last night was. . .stupidity in driving city folks, you know, city yippies out into the streets of Chicago, you know. . .

Pub Date: March 1, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988